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44 new FOIA court documents, plus case descriptions

by on January 3, 2014

We have added 44 documents from 13 FOIA cases filed between December 15, 2013 and January 2, 2014. Note that there can be delays between the date a case is filed and when it shows up on PACER. If there are filings from this period that have yet to be posted on PACER, this FOIA Project list may not be complete.

Click on a case title below to view details for that case, including links to the associated docket and complaint documents.

  1. Pavalone v. Federal Bureau of Investigation et al (filed Dec 16, 2013)
    Pavalone claims the FBI and CIA violated his constitutional rights. He brought the case under FOIA, but did not make a request. Issues: Not a FOIA case
  2. San Juan Citizens Alliance (filed Dec 17, 2013)
    The San Juan Citizens Alliance requested records concerning the Glade Run Recreation Area Resource Management Plan Amendment. The Bureau of Land Management asked the Alliance to narrow the scope of its request to make it more manageable. The Alliance submitted a narrowed request, but BLM indicated the request was still too voluminous and that it would take a considerable amount of time to process. The Alliance argued the agency had induced it to narrow its request but had failed to provide records more quickly in exchange for narrowing its request. After hearing nothing further from the agency, the Alliance filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, finding that inappropriate FOIA regulations are invalid, sanctions, attorneys fees
  3. LaVan v. United States Department of Veterans Affairs et al (filed Dec 17, 2013)
    LaVan, an attorney representing veterans in claims against the VA, submitted 25 separate requests for the claims files of his clients. After the agency failed to respond, he appealed each request. After hearing nothing further from the agency, he filed suit.
    Issues: pattern and practice of failing to respond within statutory time, injunctive relief, disclosure of records for each individual, jury trial, expedited proceedings, attorneys fees
  4. Skrzypek v. Federal Bureau of Investigation (filed Dec 17, 2013)
    Skrzypek submitted a request for records pertaining to documents signed by John Burke at Skrzypeks Chicago home in 1997. The FBI provided one document with deletions made under Exemption 6 (invasion of privacy) and Exemption 7(C) (invasion of privacy concerning law enforcement records) that Skrzypek considered non-responsive. He appealed to the Office of Information Policy, which upheld the FBIs decision. Skrzypek then appealed to the Office of Government Information Services. OGIS told Skrzypek that the FBI was willing to process his request if he provided a signed waiver for John Burke. Skrzypek provided the information to the FBI, but after hearing nothing further, he filed suit. Issues: improper withholding, expedited proceedings, costs
    CREW requested records from the Criminal Division of the Justice Department, the FBI, and the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys concerning the closed investigation of Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL). The Criminal Division told CREW it would not process the request without privacy waivers for third parties. CREW appealed the Criminal Divisions decision to the Office of Information Policy, which told the Criminal Division to search for responsive records. The FBI told CREW the records were protected by Exemption 7(A) (interference with ongoing investigation or proceeding). CREW appealed the FBIs decision to OIP, which told the FBI that Exemption 7(A) was no longer applicable and to process the records. EOUSA did not respond at all. CREW then filed suit.
    Issues: inadequacy of search, disclosure of non-exempt records, expeditious proceedings, attorneys fees
  6. DUGAN v. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE et al (filed Dec 18, 2013)
    Dugan, a convicted firearms dealer in New Mexico, filed requests with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Department of Homeland Security for records concerning his conviction on firearms charges. The agencies denied his requests on the basis of Exemption 7(A) (interference with ongoing investigation or proceeding). The agencies upheld the denial on appeal and Dugan filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, production of Vaughn index, disclosure of all non-exempt records including any held by the N
    Davis submitted a request for the names of movie files allegedly containing illegal material that were seized from his home in 2006. The Postal Inspection Service responded that it could not locate the names of the movie files, but did locate a partial search warrant inventory list. Davis appealed, arguing the names of the movie files could be located by a computer query. The agencys chief counsel remanded the request for a further search. The agency then located the movie files, but told Davis they were being withheld under Exemption 7(F) (harm to any individual). Davis appealed the denial, which was upheld by the agency. Davis then filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, creation of list of names of files instead of disclosure of file, costs
  8. Intellectual Property Watch et al v. United States Trade Representative (filed Dec 18, 2013) No information available for this case.
  9. Henry et al v. Department of Justice (filed Dec 21, 2013)
    Caitlin Kelly Henry and Jesse Stout are attorneys and legal scholars who have worked with groups that defend political and social activists. They requested records about themselves for the purpose of determining the extent of alleged government surveillance of individuals involved in political activism. They also requested a fee waiver. The FBI told Henry and Stout that it could neither confirm nor deny that it had records on them. EOUSA denied their fee waiver request and indicated that it was searching some specific files. However, Henry and Stout heard nothing further from the agency. Henry and Stout appealed the FBIs decision to OIP. OIP upheld the FBIs decision as to Stout, but had not yet acted on Henrys appeal. Henry and Stout then filed suit. Issues: improper withholding, attorneys fees
    Friends of Animals submitted a request for records concerning Fish and Wildlife Services processing of permit applications under the Endangered Species Act to allow the take of scimitar-horned oryx, addax, and dama gazelle on U.S. hunting ranches. Friends of Animals also requested a fee waiver. After hearing nothing from the agency, Friends of Animals filed suit. Issues: improper withholding, fee waiver, attorneys fees
    Necla Lane, the attorney for Emiliano Aguirre-Beisa, requested all records pertaining to Aguirre-Beisa’s case before the Executive Office of Immigration Review. EOIR responded that it was taking a 10-day extension of the 20-day time limit for unusual circumstances. After hearing nothing further after the 30 days had expired, Aguirre-Beisa filed suit. Issues: improper withholding
  12. WILSON v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE et al (filed Dec 26, 2013)
    Wilson requested allegedly exculpatory information that had been withheld by U.S. Attorneys during his criminal trial. The Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys told Wilson that it would not process his request without privacy waivers for third parties mentioned in his criminal records. Wilson appealed the decision and EOUSA affirmed its denial. Wilson then filed suit.
    Issues: improper withholding, arbitrary and capricious behavior
  13. Carlson v. United States Postal Service (filed Dec 31, 2013)
    Carlson submitted multiple requests concerning database queries on workday collection times. The Postal Service responded to most of his requests by indicating that he would have to pay fees ranging from $60 to $10,000. The agency upheld the fee estimates on appeal and did not provide records pertaining to any of Carlsons requests. Carlson then filed suit.
    Issues: improper fee estimate, disclosure of records at reasonable cost


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